The financial cost of conventional forms of energy is continually increasing, and most of us are growing more aware of the environmental cost, so being careful about energy use is simple common sense.
At Bluestone, we’ve tried to be more than careful. We’ve tried to be innovative. And though keeping energy costs down is an ongoing task, there are things we’ve done which stand as examples of good practice.
Keeping the water warm in Blue Lagoon was always going to require significant energy. The question we asked ourselves a decade or so ago was: where will that energy come from? The obvious answer would have been ‘oil’ but to us, the answer was: the fields of neighbouring farms.
The heat for Blue Lagoon (and the Adventure Centre) is generated in an on-site energy centre, housing two 28-tonne boilers which burn a blend of energy crops grown by local farmers, and woodchip. Using this type of fuel – biomass – has several advantages over oil.
Firstly, it’s renewable rather than a finite resource like oil, and it’s also considered carbon neutral in that the carbon dioxide given off in the burning process is balanced by the carbon dioxide the crops absorbed during growth. This means an annual saving of 3000 tonnes of CO2 compared to oil.
Using locally-sourced biomass also means that we are able to provide significant financial support to the Pembrokeshire farming community.
While biomass systems are relatively common, particularly in places like Scandinavia and Austria, it is believed that Blue Lagoon is the only facility of its kind anywhere in the world to be heated in this way. It’s also the biggest biomass system in Wales.
In other news, we’ve also been very careful to reduce energy wastage in the lodges, including triple glazing and ten inches of insulation in the floors.
The single-storey Caldey lodges also have solar panels to heat water.
We consider energy efficiency to be an ongoing journey.
There will always be room for improvement, and we are currently exploring the feasibility and viability of photovoltaic systems, as well as seeking to meet a greater proportion of our energy demands with biomass.